Plucking starts after the sunrise in order to avoid the morning dew. The present of morning dew on the tea leaves will cause partial over-heating during the steaming process. This will destroy the tissues of tea leaves and affects the quality. Therefore, good Jade Dew must be produced from tea leaves which are plucked during a sunny day.
After plucking, the tea is gently placed inside a small bamboo basket. A hole is made in the middle of piled tea leaves to provide effective ventilation. Withering process is carried out under the shade with good ventilation for 24 hours. During the withering process, internal enzyme is triggered to start the ripening. It is the same mechanism as hanging unripe pineapple for further ripening. Another example is that hay usually gives a sweet aroma, while grass gives a very greenish aroma right after being cut. These involve the same mechanism.
The enzyme is triggered by dehydration and mediate moderate ripening process. Ripening is a kind of oxidation or enzymatic hydrolysis that produces various kind of volatile substance. In tea leaves, those volatile substances give a floral aroma and flavor.
The quality of Jade Dew is also affected by the steaming process. In order to bring out the identical character of this tea, the steaming process is conducted at a very short time, about 30 seconds. Tea leaves are steamed at a very high temperature but in a short time so that it become very dry and will not regain the moisture by condensation. This is one of the key points to produce good quality teas.
Tea leaves have to be cooled down quickly after steaming. Immediate decrease of the wet heat is very important to avoid secondary heating of tea leaves. At the same time, the tea leaves will evaporate the moisture.
(4) Pre -rolling
Tea leaves are agitated with hot air for further drying. At the same time, the mixing will soften the leaves.
This is the only process conducted without heat. The machine moves in a circular motion with pressure that spread the moisture of tea leaves evenly. The tea leaves generate heat due to the friction. Therefore, it is necessary to loosen the tea leaves and release the heat at regular intervals.
(6) Intermediate Rolling
A rotary dryer is used to roll the tea leaves gently and twist the tea leaves into a finer shape. It is also part of the drying process to further reduce the moisture of tea leaves.
(7) Final Rolling
It is a reciprocal movement of back and forth; combine with a circular motion to twist the tea leaves into a fine needle shape. High quality Jade Dew is dark green in color, shinny and solid.
After the final rolling, the tea leaves still contain moisture. Drying will reduce moisture to about 5%.